doing self-organization -- Invitation as Question

Larry Peterson larry at
Mon May 28 08:53:43 PDT 2007

I agree with both themes that have emerged here:

Invitation, which includes a question, is part of what gives focus to a
particular experience of "self-organization".  Without the invitation
and question that particular experience of organization emerging from
the interaction of "selves" who have gathered does not happen. 

I think "self-organization" is one perspective that needs to be
integrated with others to get beyond some of the issues Michael has

To me "self-organization" is a particular signifier of the way complex
systems happen.  All complex systems -- all systems.  That term does not
describe the "selves" that organize or their intention or worldviews.
The nature of the emergent organization in any situation depends partly
on the "selves" and the perspective and values that they bring both in
an "invitation" to the process of self-organizing -- how they choose to

Hierarchy, like all other human systems of organization, self-organized
(and still does) based on particular worldviews that allowed some people
to act like they are in control with the complicity of those other
selves who participated.  It is organized that way for particular socio,
economic and environmental reasons.  Of course, having swords or guns or
Islam or Christianity didn't hurt.  That world view still dominates most
organizations in our world.  
"Wikinomics" (Tapscott 2006) is a fascinating description of how mass
collaborative "self-organization" is happening now that we have Web 2.0.
The perspective of the information age and integral possibilities is
allowing major steps beyond hierarchy and supply chain management -- to
peer collaboration.  It requires letting go of control and engaging in
new relationships that emerge in new "space" that is open.  It is
clearly recognized as self-organizing.  But, it takes a view of the
world that understands "self-organizing" to "see" and value it.

 The "selves" in such cases often understand that they are
self-organizing and find ways to enhance or improve it.  OST is a good
way to practice being intentional about maximizing particular aspects or
events of self-organization.  It is a process that is happening all the
time.  OST uses invitation/intention and a certain set of principles and
a law to provide the "permeable boundaries" within which a particular
instance of self-organization happens.  I agree with Harrison that it
feels so real, powerful and spiritual because we are connecting to the
way reality works.  

OST recognizes the reality of self-organization and enhances it in our
own awareness and that of a gathering of "selves".  It is our worldview
that allows us to see it and OST helps us to open the space in our
worldview to see even more self-organization happening.  


Larry Peterson
Associates in Transformation
Toronto, ON, Canada
larry at 

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